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FIU mourns Harvey R. Chaplin, namesake of hospitality school and iconic industry pioneer
Harvey R. Chaplin, center, and his son Wayne E. Chaplin (to immediate right) with hospitality students

FIU mourns Harvey R. Chaplin, namesake of hospitality school and iconic industry pioneer

June 13, 2024 at 9:40am

A pioneer in the wine and spirits industry, community leader, family man, philanthropist and the namesake of the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at FIU passed away this week at the age of 95.

Harvey R. Chaplin was the chairman of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (SGWS), the world’s largest distributor of alcoholic beverages in North America. SGWS partners with FIU to host the annual Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF®), which for the last two decades has raised more than 40 million dollars in support of FIU, including state-of-the-art facilities, an endowed professorship, scholarships and overall student success. 

“The FIU family is saddened by the passing of Harvey Chaplin, a visionary leader and advocate for hospitality education,” said Michael Cheng, Chaplin School dean. “Mr. Chaplin’s interaction with future hospitality leaders over the years and visits by him and his son to the school and their advice and knowledge passed on to our students has been priceless. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Chaplin family and our extended family at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.”

Harvey Chaplin and his family began their relationship with FIU in the late 1990s when the late professor and renowned wine expert Patrick “Chip” Cassidy showed Chaplin around the hospitality education program. In 1998, the family broke ground on the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center on the school’s Biscayne Bay Campus.

harvey-chaplin-1998-southern-wine-spirits.jpegWayne Chaplin (left), former hospitality school dean Tony Marshall, Harvey Chaplin, and SGWS Executive Mel Dick during the groundbreaking for FIU's Southern Wine & Beverage Management Center in 1998.

In 2007, the Chaplin family established the Harvey R. Chaplin Eminent Scholar in Beverage Management to expand the School’s Beverage Management curriculum. The position was awarded to Dr. Barry Gump.

In 2008, Harvey Chaplin received an honorary doctorate from the school. Three years later, the school was renamed the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. The naming recognized the commitment of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and the Chaplin family as passionate supporters of FIU’s hospitality and tourism education.

“The university community mourns the passing of Harvey Chaplin, a true community leader and FIU hero,” said FIU President Kenneth A. Jessell. “We could not be more grateful to Mr. Chaplin and the Chaplin family for their dedication to and support of our students, alumni, and educational efforts.”

Harvey Chaplin was born in 1929 in Brooklyn, New York. During high school, he worked in the mailroom of Schenley Industries, a wine and spirits wholesaler and worked his way up in the company. In 1969, he joined Southern Wine, along with other founding executives. His life’s work resulted in the historic combination of Southern Wine and Glazer’s Distributing in 2016.

His vision for creating a national footprint to scale the value a wholesaler could deliver for suppliers and customers has driven the unparalleled growth of Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, which now operates in 45 U.S. markets, as well as Canada. SGWS employs hundreds of FIU alumni in South Florida and its offices all across the U.S. 


Harvey Chaplin (right) with actor George Hamilton (left) and chef and FIU Chaplin School alumnus, Allen Susser '78 at the Florida Extravaganza, the pre-cursor to SOBEWFF(R)

"His influence as a leader, a philanthropist, a loving family man and patriarch of our family has left an indelible mark on all who have known and worked with him. He was a larger-than-life figure and will be greatly missed by my family, and our entire Southern Glazer's team,” said Wayne E. Chaplin, chief executive officer of Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits.

Memorial contributions may be made to the FIU Foundation, Inc. to the Harvey Chaplin Student Support Fund at FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.